A visualisation of Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter project

Recently, Amanda Palmer posted an update on her most recent Kickstarter project regarding the split of the funds she’ll receive from the project. It’s a very interesting read, and I highly recommend you follow the link in order to gain an insight into how projects like that often work — even if you’re not necessarily an Amanda Palmer fan, the post is crammed with useful data on crowdfunded projects. I, for one, found it fascinating, but I was having trouble picturing the proportions of the money that were involved, at each stage of the process.

A picture of Amanda Palmer holding a red guitar at a concert.

As such, I decided to rectify that, and consequently I spent a couple of minutes putting an image together in Pages1 in order to be able to see, at a glance, where all that money goes. The categories are based mostly on the Kickstarter post, but ‘Mailbox Invasion’ combines the numbers for both the arts and crafts/vinyl packages and the turntables required. I set ‘Other’ to $45,000, following on from a pre-Kickstarter fee position of $145,000 and subtracting the first digit of that as ‘Kickstarter fees’ — I’ve actually taken the higher number in every case where Palmer quotes a range of money, so bear that in mind when looking at the chart.

I find it striking that around half of the money is instantly gone as soon as the starting debt is added to the commission of the managers, lawyers and companies involved in making something like this happen. I know that neither of these things can realistically be removed from the equation, but it must be weird to know that only about half of the raised money goes directly into the project itself2. Also, I find it fascinating that so much money goes into CD production: I can’t help but wonder whether that will eventually fade as the compact disc also wanes.

A pie chart showing the division of monies from Amanda Palmer's latest Kickstarter project.

I wish Amanda good luck with this project — I like crowdfunding as a concept and she seems to be embracing it with open arms.


  1. Speaking as a physicist, I am also disgusted that I used a word processing app to create a data visualisation. However, it’s late in the day and it was easy to use, so I went with it. 
  2. This reminds me somewhat of research grants, which are usually split between the research group that gains the grant and the university to which the group belongs — perhaps there are more parallels between science and the arts than I thought!